Twitter CEO Claims No Shadow Banning; Internet Disagrees

The censorship of conservatives on social media platforms is at an all-time high. With CEOs from both Facebook and Twitter in total denial that any shadowbanning or censorship is politically driven, while the actual evidence does not support their claims. YouTube has also revved up its censorship of conservative accounts, shutting down channels that had millions of subscribers without blinking an eye and taking away the ability to live stream from Fulcrum News after interviewing Owen Shroyer from Infowars. This is strategic, and you better believe it has EVERYTHING to do with the upcoming midterms.  

President Donald J. Trump has been outspoken on his Twitter account concerning the censorship of conservative accounts, “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen,” wrote the president.

“They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others ….,” Trump continued.

Trump, in a series of Tweets, pointed out the stark difference between the banned right-wing accounts and the news outlets that have continually published nothing but falsehoods regarding his presidency. 

“Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all..”

“....Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter has tried his best to convince conservatives that his platform treats everyone fairly. In a recent interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Twitter’s top executive claimed that his social media company never makes content decisions based on political views, but admitted that Twitter itself does have a “more left-leaning” bias.

"But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period," Dorsey said in response to a question about "shadow bans," Twitter's practice of using algorithms to limit the visibility of certain tweets. "We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoints or ideology, we look at behavior."

"We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is... more left-leaning," Dorsey added. "But we need to remove all bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement."

Dorsey has agreed to several interviews including one with Sean Hannity, and other Fox News hosts. Word on the street is he’s also held closed meetings with conservative leaders, such as Ted Cruz. In each interview, Dorsey has been asked about his social media platform shadowbanning conservative accounts, which he denies is happening at all.

Late July, Twitter’s Trust and Safety Lead, Vijaya Gadde and Product Lead, Kayvon Beykpour, in trying to deny that Twitter shadowbans accounts, actually stated the opposite on their blog: 

“You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile).”

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Earlier this year, James O'Keefe with Project Veritas caught several Twitter employees explaining just how shadowbanning works during an undercover investigation where they were captured on film.

On August 16th, Rep. Greg Walden, U.S. Rep for Oregon’s 2nd congressional district, tagged Dorsey on a tweet and stated, “...this is your formal invitation to appear before @HouseCommerce on Sept. 5.”

Dorsey is already set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on September 5th, to discuss Russian election interference, alongside executives from Facebook.

Majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, expressing his concern that Twitter and other social media companies were biased against conservative views in the way that they treat content on their platform. McCarthy wrote in an op-ed on August 18th:

“Twitter’s subtle censorship targeted conservatives, and seemingly only conservatives. Prominent officials like Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) were affected, along with countless ordinary citizens. Yet Twitter can’t point to a single prominent Democrat who was affected by this so-called “glitch.” Vice found that “not a single member” of the 78-person Progressive Caucus, the most liberal faction in the House of Representatives, was targeted by shadow banning.

Faced with the evidence, Twitter admitted that it limited the visibility of certain users but denied that this amounted to “shadow banning” because these users technically were still discoverable. This odd denial has been echoed uncritically by some mainstream publications.

Twitter also denied penalizing accounts based on their political beliefs. It did not offer a convincing explanation about why conservatives were predominantly harmed by its algorithms.

As one last irony, Twitter claimed that its censorship promoted “healthy conversations” on its platform. What it amounted to in reality was ‘one-sided conversations.’”

Dorsey has also recently come under fire for banning Alex Jones’ personal Twitter account for one week after violating Twitter’s rules against “inciting violence.” The social network said in a statement that Jones' account "currently has limited functionality." Jones was told the account would regain full functionality seven days after the removal of a tweet with "a broadcast in violation of our rules."

The decision was made after Jones tweeted a link to a video that called for supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against media and others, according to media outlets covering the ban. Jones’ ban applies to not only his personal Twitter account, but also his Periscope account.

When Dorsey was asked in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Wednesday, he referred to Jones’ suspension as a “timeout.”

Jones quickly responded with a 13-minute video on the ban and stated, “On Twitter, we have been so careful even to follow their anti-free speech, university SJW rules, so a video about Donald Trump needing to take action against web censorship, that gets flagged and gets us suspended for seven days,” Jones says in the video, adding: “I guess Dorsey is toying with us, or his people are.”

"I feel any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” Dorsey said. 

Dorsey continues to drive home the idea that this is little more than curbing “bad behavior,” but who determines what bad behavior is? Artificial Intelligence via algorithms? Have we really just handed our First Amendment rights over to AI?? Welcome to 1984.


Written By Fulcrum Contributor Haley Kennington